“You can never be too thin”—we've all heard that too many times! And though it may be true applied to humans, I don't think it applies well to green asparagus. Thin spears are best for omelets, simple steaming, and dipping in coddled eggs, but I find that the fatter, purple-tipped spears, or green knobby ones, work best in more complex recipes, including this Spanish confitado of asparagus.
The problem with thick asparagus is that often the tips of the stalks are done while the centers are not, or, conversely, the centers are toothsome while the tips are overcooked.
Spanish chef Carlos Posadas, of the Amparo restaurant in Madrid, taught me a novel way of slow-cooking the thick spears for 1½ to 2 hours in olive oil inside an ovenproof parchment pouch. When finished, the spears are still green and evenly cooked end to end— fat, succulent, juicy, and delicious.
Chef Posadas serves his slow-cooked asparagus accompanied by mashed potatoes topped with slices of a Parmesan-like cheese. I serve my version smothered with caper-flecked mayonnaise.
The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen by Paula Wolfert. Copyright © 2003 by Paula Wolfert. Photographs copyright © by Christopher Hirsheimer. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.